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Using the ADKAR Model to Integrate Change Management and Project Management

Integrating change management and project management has been an area of study for over a decade at Prosci. While some people seem to think that project management and change management have a rivalry akin to the Capulets and Montagues, we do not believe that to be the case. Previous research tells us that integrating these disciplines leads to more effective change management. More effective change management, in turn, leads to a higher likelihood of project outcomes being achieved.

Using the ADKAR Model to Facilitate Individual Change

In our age of innovation and sophistication, I am always amazed by the power of the throw-back. We post old pictures on social media in honor of “throw-back Thursday.” We sing and dance along with throw-back songs (which, for me, is early nineties pop music). We look back at old year books or family photo albums. There’s a reason we love throw-backs: they feel comfortable and familiar, but they also take us back to our roots and our formative experiences. It’s a powerful thing to return to where we came from.

Using the ADKAR Model as a Common Language for Change

When people do not share a common language, it can lead to confusing, even hilarious results. Consider the classic Abbott and Costello skit “Who’s On First,” where both comedians are saying the same words but meaning completely different things. While this conundrum makes  for great comedy, it can cause real problems in our organizations. And lack of a common language doesn’t just manifest in people assigning different meaning to the same word; it can also result in people using vastly different terms to describe the same thing. This can cause frustration, misunderstanding, and decreased efficiency as people decipher each other’s language.

Infographic: New Data on How the ADKAR Model Drives Change

Once people understand the Prosci ADKAR Model, they tend to fall in love. They shamelessly wear ADKAR glasses at conferences, start using ‘ADKAR’ as a verb (e.g., “I just ‘ADKAR-ed’ that senior leader big time!”) - and I’ve had more than one person threaten to get an ADKAR tattoo. Why are people so fanatical about the ADKAR Model? We set out to answer this question, and understand how change professionals are using it in new and unique ways, in the Applications of ADKAR research study. 

The ADKAR Model: It’s ADKAR, not ADKA (the value of reinforcement)

The Prosci ADKAR Model gives us five outcomes individuals must achieve in order to change successfully: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. It is at ability, when the new skills or behaviors are put into practice, that the change is actually realized. And if the goal is to help people change, why not stop at ability? Why not ADKA?

The ADKAR Model: Undercut Ability, Undercut Your Change

In the Prosci ADKAR Model, knowledge and ability are two distinct elements. Knowledge of how to do something does not automatically translate into being able to do it. For example, I played one season of softball at age six. My coaches taught me how to bat: proper knee bend, elbow placement, and timing. I understood it because I was capable of learning the concepts of batting. Yet when I had to actually go to bat in a game, all that knowledge would fall away. I would panic and my batting attempts resembled laborious golf swings and rarely made contact. (Needless to say my first softball season was my last.)

The ADKAR Model: Don't Have A Rickety Knowledge Bridge

I don’t know about you, but when I’m crossing a bridge, I want it to be solid. I am not one of those adrenaline-loving thrill seekers who want to tempt fate and drive across a rickety ancient bridge. I want something that is modernly designed and constructed to get me successfully to the other side, thank you very much.

The ADKAR Model: Building Desire for Change with One-On-One Coaching

In our last post, we talked about the importance of building awareness of the need for a change, the first element in the Prosci ADKAR Model. Now let’s talk about the next ADKAR element, desire.

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